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The $5,000 Challenge, a little or a lot edition

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To some, the collector car hobby is about driving a classic car, a fairly broad term that encompasses a wide variety of vehicles and manufacturers. To others, the hobby is about preserving or restoring a car with personal significance, regardless of future resale value. Whether our real passion involves washing, waxing, and driving or wrenching, welding, and painting, there’s a car out there for all of us.

The same can be said for this round of the $5,000 Challenge. A few candidates need little more than basic detailing to be ready for the summer cruising season, while others will need quite a bit of work to get road-worthy (and even more to get show-worthy). All are worth saving, and none is too grand a project to scare off even a first-time project car buyer.


1973 Dodge D200 Adventurer SE Camper Special

1973 Dodge D200

Dodge redesigned its D Series pickups for the 1972 model year, so 1973 was largely a carryover year except for the introduction of the roomier Club Cab. Among 1973 D Series models, none was better equipped than the range-topping Adventurer Special Edition, though the largest available engine was a V-8 that produced 200 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque. This example goes one better, borrowing a 440 V-8 from a later Dodge model, meaning that output should be in the area of 230 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. Considering this truck’s survivor status, it appears to be remarkably well preserved. The asking price? $4,500

1973 Dodge D200 1973 Dodge D200 1973 Dodge D200 1973 Dodge D200


1972 International Scout II

1972 International Scout

Before SUVs shuttled suburban families to soccer practice and the mall, they were generally purchased by those with a need to get from point A to point B, regardless of weather or road conditions. International sold a lot of Scouts to those living in the Rocky Mountains, and many continued to serve as plow vehicles long after their road-registered days were over. This example appears to have lived its life in Colorado, and if the seller is correct, even competed in the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. That alone makes this International worth saving, especially at the asking price of $2,200.

1972 International Scout 1972 International Scout 1972 International Scout 1972 International Scout


1980 MG MGB

1980 MG MGB

Though MG’s MGB roadster ended production in 1980, the cars remain wildly popular with British sports car enthusiasts, and with good reason. Thanks to strong aftermarket support, parts are widely available, the cars are easy to work on and “how to” tutorials for just about any repair are a click away on the internet. Prices of other compact roadsters have risen in recent years (priced a first-gen Miata lately?), but MGBs, especially the later big-bumper cars, remain affordable. For the asking price of $5,000, this car appears to need little more than a weekend’s worth of detailing to be ready for top-down summer cruising.

1980 MG MGB 1980 MG MGB 1980 MG MGB 1980 MG MGB


1962 Buick Le Sabre Sport Coupe

1962 Buick Le Sabre Sport Coupe

There’s a saying that every education comes at a price, and that’s certainly the case with this 1962 Buick LeSabre Sport Coupe. On the surface, it sounds as if returning this to a rough driver-quality car wouldn’t take that much work. Going the next step, and completely restoring the Buick, would take considerably more time, effort and money, but this could be done in steps as time and budget allow. The end result would be a car to be proud of, and a complete education in the restoration of a 1960s American classic. The cost of this tuition? $3,950.

1962 Buick Le Sabre Sport Coupe 1962 Buick Le Sabre Sport Coupe 1962 Buick Le Sabre Sport Coupe 1962 Buick Le Sabre Sport Coupe


1970 Ford LTD

1970 Ford LTD

Put off by the thought of a full restoration? This 1970 Ford LTD four-door sedan needs new front seat upholstery, but otherwise appears ready to drive and enjoy. Given the limited description, the car may need routine maintenance as well, but replacing brakes and changing coolant (or even swapping the radiator) is considerably easier than welding in new floor pans or bending sheet metal to patch a quarter panel. The four-door family car look may not have universal appeal, but this appears to be a solid entry into the collector car hobby. The asking price? $4,000.

1970 Ford LTD 1970 Ford LTD 1970 Ford LTD